29 October 1998
Beef ban could be lifted on 23 November
By FWi staff
THE export ban on British beef could be lifted by the end of next month, according to proposals made by European Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler.
Mr Fischler will demand that European veterinary experts vote on a lifting of the ban when they meet next week.
If, as expected, there is no strong majority in favour, the decision will then be put to a vote by farm ministers on at a European Council meeting on 23 November.
Only eight out of the 15 ministers must vote in favour of the proposal for the beef ban to be lifted.
The plan to approve the export of British beef from cattle born after 1 August, 1996 was first proposed by the Commission last June.
But it was delayed by opposition from Germany and at least half a dozen other member states.
The hope now is that resistance has softened to a resumption of British beef exports with Germany the only country that remains opposed to a resumption of overseas trade.
Ironically, the news comes as Portugal faces a ban on exports of its beef.
The European Commission will move tomorrow (Friday) to recommend a ban on exports of Portuguese cattle and beef after 67 new cases of BSE were discovered.